Fresh off of two big awards at the Indie Music Channel Awards for his song “December Rain (Carol of Love)” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKZ9BIuOn9E), it’s safe to say Craymo is ridin’ high on cloud nine! I’m no stranger to Craig Raymo aka Craymo as our paths have crossed before. And so I couldn’t be happier because I’ve always been a fan of his positive themes and upbeat tunes. I’m glad to see Craymo getting the recognition he deserves and worth noting that his single “Take It Slow (Gotta Say Hey)” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTTpVip3M7E) has been at the top of the Euro Indie Music Top200 Chart as of recently. Go Craymo, GO!
J Rae: I know that a lot of your songs touch on positive subjects & emotions which is much needed today. How have fans/listeners reacted & responded to your feel-good vibes? Any specific examples you’d care to share?
Craymo: It’s true, I write from the heart and about the things that I am passionate about. If it is real to me, hopefully it will be real for the listener. I am on a mission to help make the world a better place one song at a time! My fans and listeners enjoy my music because of my upbeat vibe and by just being myself, not trying to sound like anyone else. I get fan emails that are very poignant and touching from both men and women that tell me how much my music inspires them and helps them get through their day. This one was really special from a fan, Sara “I suppose I should have come along here sooner, to let you know just how much I appreciate you and your music. First of all, your music is so inspiring.
The kind of stuff that can help you get through those really rough days, You’ve been there through some of mine recently, and I don’t know if I can tell you how much your music has helped. All in all, thank you for being so amazing. =] “
Another favorite email, one that makes me laugh out loud every time: “OMG Craymo whenever I listen to your song “Love You More” it gives me tingles down my spine!” Your voice…oooh!”
J Rae: I’d like to discuss your recent singles “Take It Slow (Gotta Say Hey)” and “December Rain (Carol Of Love)”, which are dedicated to your father and mother. With obvious sentimental value, these tunes are coming straight from the heart and wondering how these two songs differ from your previous material? Was it harder or easier to come up with the lyrics for the two tracks?
Craymo: These are probably the two most personal songs that I have ever written. The two people in my life who were my life, they gave me life. They inspired me to live life to the fullest, to follow my dreams and encouraged me to pursue my talents, acting, music and singing. My Mom and Dad were my rocks, my whole life! They were always there for me unconditionally. They always had my back. Whenever I was going through difficult struggles or pain in my life, they were there for me, every time, to lift me back up. I miss them more than anything. I want them to be remembered the best way that I know how, through song. “Take It Slow” was one of my Dad’s favorite sayings growing up. He would say it as guests would leave the house. As they were getting to their car he would lovingly say “Take It Slow” then, sometimes, as they were getting into their cars he would say “Drive fast and to the left!” My Dad always had an offbeat, sarcastic but charming, sense of humor. “Take It Slow” is a playful song about life in the fast lane. It is a reminder to slow down, chill, live in the moment and enjoy life!
“Take It Slow” was actually the first single that I ever professionally released, it was a cassette single! I wanted to re-record it for my Dad. He loved Jackie Wilson and all of the old R&B singers of the 50s and 60s, so I wanted to re-record it with some of that style and flair. My Dad got to hear the finished recording before he passed last May and he told me that he thought it was the best song I have ever recorded! Love you Dad!
“December Rain (Carol Of Love)” is another song of mine that I co-wrote with Paul Dinletir many years ago and I only ever recorded demo versions of it. My Mom told me it was one of her favorite songs of mine. When she passed, I decided to record it in the studio in memory of her, Mom’s maiden name was Carol Love. The song is about unrequited love. My Mom was always there for me through all my heartaches in life, it seemed like the perfect song. Love you Mom!
J Rae: How has the response been thus far to “Take It Slow (Gotta Say Hey)” and “December Rain (Carol Of Love)”? Has it been an overwhelmingly rewarding experience for you personally?
Craymo: It has been overwhelmingly positive! I have received some of the absolute best reviews ever in my career. It has given me satisfaction in knowing that my music has connected to people. That somehow I have made a difference in someone’s life. I can feel my Mom and Dad smiling at me! I know that they are proud.
“Take It Slow” has reached the #1 spot on the Euro Indie Music Top 200 Chart twice in the last two months! It’s a great honor.
A radio DJ really touched me, The Count from Way Out Radio in the UK said of “December Rain (Carol Of Love)”: “Greetings! … Many thanks for sending! …
Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh ! … I never realized that a song could have this effect on me but an overwhelming feeling of great sadness has just swept through me – chilling me to my very marrow! … Craymo truly has many talents – his writing, vocal, & musical prowesses are just superb & he brings them all to bear on this track!”
“December Rain (Carol Of Love)” won Best Alternative Music Video Under $5,000 and Best Easy Listening Video under $5,000 in the International competition for the 2019 Indie Music Channel Awards at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles! That was a very overwhelming experience for me. My Mom and Dad were there in spirit that night, I could feel their presence.
J Rae: I saw that you are a New York native currently living in Florida and first want to ask what caused you to head south? And second, as a former New Yorker myself, does that NY attitude always stay with you no matter where you live?
Craymo: I will always be a New Yorker at heart! I grew up in a small city in Upstate NY, Ogdensburg, on the St. Lawrence River on the Canadian border. I was not a big snow and cold weather person. I always tell this funny story, when I went to college at SUNY Fredonia near Buffalo, it was the 2nd week in October, grass on the ground and when I woke up there was 4 feet of snow! They didn’t cancel school, they said this is “normal!” I didn’t have any winter clothes, my Converse sneakers and a sweater and had to trudge through the snow to get to class! When the semester was over I said to myself “I am moving to California!” I lived in and around Los Angeles for 20 years pursuing my singing and acting career. I was a male vocalist on “Star Search” 89 with Ed McMahon. I lost to Dave Demay who went on to win the grand prize that season, I had 3.5 stars and he received 4 stars. Funny story, 20 years later I found him in Tennessee and he told me that he thought I should have beat him that day! That was nice of him to say.
Then 10 years ago my partner John and I moved to Florida for work and to be closer to our parents. Mine had just retired and moved there. I love the beach, one of my favorite places to meditate and re-charge. I go to NY every summer to visit and the NY attitude does stay with you no matter where you live for sure!
J Rae: Your music combines elements of Modern Rock, Pop & Dance and I’m wanting to ask where this all originates from? Where does the true inspiration stem from to create the complete Craymo sound & experience?
Craymo: The 80s was definitely my big decade for musical inspiration. That whole New Wave sound, rock music with a dance beat really changed my life! I have always been a pop music lover, my first memories are when I was 3 or 4 standing on my parents bed singing Beatles songs into my Mom’s hairbrush (my microphone). I loved Elvis Presley too, the way he moved, his mannerisms, that sultry voice. Music and songs that make you want to dance and enjoy life have always been my favs.
J Rae: Some of your early influences include: David Bowie, The Cars, Morrissey, The Cure, The Beatles, Duran Duran, U2, George Michael. Quite a list of music icons there but if you could only pick one who would that be and why?
Craymo: Probably Duran Duran because they changed the musical landscape.
J Rae: Some of your music has been featured in Indie films and TV shows; can you tell us more about this?
Craymo: My business partner Brandon Jarrett and I first licensed the theme song “Looking Good Feeling Good” in the indie film “Miss Castaway and The Island Girls” starring Eric Roberts and featuring one of the last movie cameo roles by Michael Jackson. We co-wrote the theme song for the indie film “Lucky Dog” and the theme song “Happy Birthday Remix” for the indie film “Super Southern Sweet Sixteen”. We have had songs placed on MTV, OWN, Lifetime, TLC, NBC and many indie films. Brandon is a successful composer having scored over 25 original films for Lifetime Movie Network. I am constantly pitching our songs to different projects.
J Rae: I noticed that besides being a talented singer/songwriter, you are also a waiter/entertainer at Walt Disney World and Director of Publishing at Moho Productions. Would you be so kind as to tell the Skope readers more about these interesting aspects of your life?
Craymo: Working for Disney has been a great experience! I work at 50’s Prime Time Café set in ‘Mom’s” house in the 1950’s. It’s very interactive making guests eat their vegetables and putting them in the corner, scolding them for a time out when they are bad. It’s a waiter’s dream job!
Moho Productions is a great partnership between 5 songwriters/composers/choreographers and we all work together to record new artists and place music in film, TV and advertising products. A few years ago we did the music for Mattel’s Ami Gami campaign.
J Rae: I have to ask since you work at Disney World, what is your favorite Disney character and movie?
Craymo: It has always been Jiminy Cricket in “Pinocchio”. When he sings “When You Wish Upon A Star Your Dreams Come True” makes me misty in my eyes every time. Been my go to song for inspiration since I first saw it as a little boy.
J Rae: I couldn’t help but notice that you were recently in a commercial for Disney Cruise Line featuring a certain superhero. Please tell us all about this experience and could this lead into more acting for you?
Craymo: Haha, yes I was in two Disney Cruise line commercials with two different super heroes! One with Spiderman and one with Iron Man! They were a blast to do! I have been acting for many years, started out acting on the soap operas “General Hospital” and “Days Of Our Lives”. I also acted with Robin Wright on a short lived soap “Santa Barbara”! I have been acting in indie films and TV shows. I appeared as a newspaper reporter in the HBO original film “Recount”.
J Rae: What are you working on right now and any new projects due out soon? Also, any big news or updates you’d like to share with the Skope Universe at this time?
Craymo: A short film I acted in last year as Chief Gensu, “Ama of Ta Li” recently won Best Fantasy Film in the Olympus Film Festival in Los Angeles. My next project I am playing a police Captain in a short film “Rookie Day” as part of the comedy challenge for Orlando Independent Filmmakers. I also recently played a computer hacker Jack Hackler in the Indie Feature Film “The Watchman’s Edict.”
J Rae: I think it’s wonderful that you stand by the motto of being a “lover of life and peace”. God knows we need more people like that today! I actually have been ending all of my interviews on a positive note and so perfect theme to end on! What exact steps can we take, as a society, to become legitimate, full-time lovers of life and peace? Let’s make it happen Craymo…for real! :)
Craymo: I think it begins with this, basically we need to treat each other with kindness and respect. Be nice to people. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. It’s a conscious effort. Life can be stressful. We need to find ways to de-stress our lives so that we don’t take out our frustrations on other people, We are all sharing this world with each other. We need to get away from focusing only on ourselves and our “me” mentality and focusing more on inclusion, more of a “we” mentality! I have always been the glass is half full guy! We also need to preserve and protect our planet for future generations. Peace my brother, peace.
By Jimmy Rae (https://twitter.com/2JRae)